Tow truck procession pays tribute to driver killed in storm

Dozens of tow trucks are heading to Esterhazy, Sask., Saturday as a tribute to a driver who died during a blizzard last week.

Willy Cowan was in that storm when he first learned of Courtney Schaefer's death.

"I just stood there in shock," Cowan told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.

Cowan owns OK Tire and Towing in Whitewood. He said he got to know Schaefer quite well as they would cross paths.

"He was a helpful guy. He wouldn't see anybody stranded."

Schaefer was killed when he was hit by a semi-trailer while responding to a call near Esterhazy during the blizzard last Tuesday.

Paying tribute to one of their own

Tow truck drivers from Saskatoon, Whitewood and Abernethy, Sask., formed a memorial procession early Saturday morning, ahead of Schaefer's memorial in Esterhazy later in the day.

Cowan said Schaefer's own brother is taking part, driving one of Schaefer's trucks.

As difficult as it has been for Cowan to come to terms with Schaefer's death, he said he knows it's been an extremely tough time for Schaefer's family.

He hopes other drivers will keep Schaefer in mind when they venture out on the roads.

"I just hope people recognize that that is a family person out on that highway. It's someone's son, someone's daughter, someone's parent, someone's sibling."

Call for new legislation

In the days following Schaefer's death, the Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan put out a statement calling on the government to legislate a red and amber flashing light system specifically for tow trucks.

The light combination, the association says, would differentiate the trucks from other vehicles on the road.

Tow trucks are currently only allowed to have amber lights.